The Author’s Next Project

“Hello?”

“Hi.  I’m Robert Veres.  I just wrote a terrifically funny book about raising children, and I thought that your publishing company—”

“Did you say funny?”

“Yes.”

“Who says it’s funny?”

“Everybody who has ever read it, and eighteen or twenty other people who didn’t have time to read it, so they just told me what they knew I wanted to hear.”

“Are you Dave Barry?”

“No. I don’t think so.”

“Then I don’t think we’re interested in your next book.  Humor is the sort of thing where you actually have to be a good writer to pull it off, and here at the publishing house, we have no way of actually assessing whether you’re a good writer or not.  It’s just too much of a risk.”

“But I–  Wait a minute.  Are you implying that there are subjects where you sell a lot of books, but the writer doesn’t have to be any good?”

“Oh, sure.  If you were writing about one of those kinds of books, then I’d be really interested.”

“Like what?”

“Anything about celebrities just jumps off the shelves.  Especially if you’re writing about the trashy reality stars.”

“Is that all?”

“Cats are very popular.  If you write about cats, then there are certain people who will buy your book basically no matter what you say in the actual inside pages.  The key there is to have a really cute cat on the cover.”

“I see.  Maybe you could recommend something closer to my area of expertise.”

“Diet books.  It’s pretty easy to sell a diet book, so long as you have some kind of bizarre gimmick that doesn’t require people to get off their butt and exercise or muster the discipline to eat less.”

“Is there anything else on your list?”

“Not much.  Vampires are really big for some reason, and romance novels always find a huge market with women.”

“Wow.  I had no idea publishing had gotten so formulaic.”

“You’ve seen what the networks do on TV.  Why should book publishers be any different?”

“Let me look through my notes.  I’ve got a new title for my next book.  I think you might be very interested.”

“Trust me, I’ve heard it all.”

“Maybe not.  It’s called The Reality Show Celebrity Diet Book for Cats and Romantic Vampires.”

“My god, I think I just wet my pants.”

“What do you think?”

“How about if I write you an advance on your royalties right now?  I have the checkbook right here in my trembling hands.  We can talk about an outlilne later, after you’ve finalized the purchase of that Mediterranean Villa that you’ll be able to afford once this check clears.”

“I’ll call my realtor in Provence right now.”

“Welcome to the 1%.”

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New, precise, scientifically-valid questionnaire determines whether individuals should be consulting a parenting manual

For Immediate Release (if not sooner)

Contact:  Your Real Estate Broker

New precise scientifically valid questionnaire determines

Whether individuals should be consulting a parenting manual

In a stunning breakthrough in statistical science that has caught the attention of whichever one of those Nobel Prize Committees gives out awards for that sort of thing, a team of experts has created a valid scientific instrument that determines with great precision, more or less, whether any particular individual really ought to be reading a great book on parenting written by soon-to-be-best-selling-author Robert Veres.

“We originally thought we had a cure for cancer,” said Austin Wheelwright, Ph.D., RIA, the leader of the very smart scientific team that created the questionnaire.  “You wouldn’t believe how excited we were; it was, like, hey, we’ll make so much money we won’t have to stare into microscopes all day long any more.  We’ll get out to the beach and hang out with the surfers and maybe get a tan.  It’s not easy to describe how disappointed we were,” he added with a tear rolling down his cheek, “when we realized that all this does is figure out, to the tenth of a person, how many of you folks out there ought to be boning up on parenting.”

One of the best parts about this rigorous scientific questionnaire is that anybody can take it in less than five minutes and come away with a definitive answer.  In fact, you could take it right now if you want.

Here are the questions:

Are you now or have you ever been a parent?  (If you answer yes, then skip to the bottom for your scientifically-based determination, which comes after the highlighted word “Recommendation.”)

Have you ever been parented by another human being?  (If you answer yes, then skip to the bottom for your scientifically-based determination, which comes after the highlighted word “Recommendation.”)

Is at least one of your parents sometimes really annoying? (If you answer yes—hey, you probably know the drill by now.)

Are you ever at a loss for words when your teenage daughter brings home what appears to be an escaped baboon and insists on dating it?  (If yes… you know.)

Do you have any drug habits we should know about?  (If yes…)

Before you had kids, were you ever required to take a course on parenting, child rearing, or even get a simple demonstration on how to properly change a diaper?  Did anybody else that you know of?  Don’t you think that’s dysfunctional, dangerous and maybe a little scary?  (If you answered yes or no to any of these questions, then go to the bottom and get your recommendation.)

Did your own parents ever treat you unfairly when you were growing up?  Like, when your little sister put your Metallica CDs in the toaster, they blamed you for leaving them out where she could get her hands on them, and you could tell they were secretly glad that you weren’t listening to that garbage any more?  (If yes, go to the bottom and do that thing we’ve been telling you to do.)

How did that make you feel?  (If you answer yes, then this might be a good time to jump right to the conclusion of the questionnaire, because you’re obviously no longer paying attention.  You might as well, because the whole exercise is really over anyway.)

Recommendation:  Count your yes and no answers carefully.  If those represented more than one of your responses during the “question” part of this scientific instrument, then you should immediately go out and buy a parenting book entitled Conversations With My Daughter, which may not exactly make you a better or more informed parent, but it might be a better use of your time than this questionnaire thing you just went through.

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Survey Finds Shockingly High Number of Real Americans Are Not Exactly Brain Surgeons When It Comes to Parenting

For release: next Thursday or Friday or maybe Monday

Contact:  The Author directly until he can find a publicist more tolerant of his perfectly normal mood swings.

Survey Finds Shockingly High Number of Real Americans Are Not Exactly Brain Surgeons When It Comes to Parenting

A wide-ranging survey that has apparently caught the prestigious Roper and Gallup organizations totally by surprise has found that fully 71% of all Real Americans have not received formal university training before becoming parents of living, breathing human beings who totally depend on them for survival for the first 28 years of their life.

“Frankly, we were kind of surprised,” said Robert Veres, who conducted the scientific survey of people he ran into in the grocery store one day, and who also happens, by a startling coincidence, to be author of a book he hopes will one day be a core part of a University parenting curriculum, called Conversations With My Daughter.  “I didn’t realize how many people would be willing to call the store security guard just because a perfect stranger was asking them a perfectly simple question.”

The survey found that another 19% of Real Americans were confused about where, in our advanced society, parental training is even offered.  Those people REALLY need to read Conversations With My Daughter, in the opinion of the pollsters.

Another 6.5% were found to have embarrassingly long nose hair.

In other results, eight percent of the respondents, more or less, admitted that they might have made a mistake or two when raising their kids, but couldn’t remember what it was.  And an astonishing 100% remembered vividly a whole bunch of mistakes their own parents made.  “We concluded that people who had, at one time, been parented, were exposed to many more mistakes from parents than parents had actually committed,” says Veres.

All results have a scientific validity of plus or minus 93.6613% or so.

Meanwhile, the survey found that among Fake Americans, only 12% had that university training that we were talking about earlier, but we suspect they might have been lying, because a much smaller cohort (3%) of Imaginary Americans were so trained.  “Imaginary Americans is not really the demographic we’re shooting for when trying to position Conversations With My Daughter as a valid parenting textbook,” said Veres.  “But it does seem to be where most of our sales are coming from so far.”

The survey was able to pin down, to the tenth of a person, how many people in the world are kind of clueless about parenting: 5,893, 622,811.3.

A spokesperson for the Council of American Survey Research Organization professed to be “shocked” by the results of this scientific poll.  “We think it may constitute an ethics violation,” she said.  “Our attorneys are looking into it, but until they report back, we really have no further comment.”

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Pulitzer Prize Considers Conversations With My Daughter

For release two weeks ago

Contact Elizabeth Gartenburg unless she, too, decides to resign this engagement.

Pulitzer Prize Committee tested, proves discouragingly unsusceptible to bribery.  Contest integrity reaffirmed by interesting experiment.

In what experts are calling a supreme test of the fairness of the Pulitzer evaluation process, six checks in the amount of $147.95 were returned without comment to the noted and prestigious author of the increasingly famous book Conversations With My Daughter, which by the way is extremely funny, in case you’re one of the few who still haven’t read it.

“Boy, those committee folks have gobs of integrity,” said Robert Veres, who sent the checks earlier this month, along with a letter specifying exactly the award he expected to receive in return for his largesse.  “People said that the contest is highly political, so I just assumed it worked like Congress.  I guess I was wrong.”

Even so, the author seemed to be upbeat and undiscouraged by the ineffectiveness of his ploy.  “Why do you keep asking whether I’m discouraged?” he demanded.  “I think sometimes you forget you’re supposed to be working for me in these press release things,” he added in what could only be described as a very testy tone of voice.

Although he still confidently expects to win the Letters award on merit alone, Mr. Veres has not ruled out the possibility of stuffing ten dollar bills into the shirt pockets of members of the Pulitzer awards committee, should he encounter any of them in a social setting.  “Let’s see how much integrity they have when they feel the green cabbage against their skin,” he said.

The book in question—which, in case you weren’t paying attention in that earlier paragraph, is titled Conversations With My Daughter—is an inevitable best-seller which accurately reproduces the imaginative versions of real-world kinds of conversations that real fathers might have with real daughters in some alternate universe that is much, MUCH funnier than this one.

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Pulitzer Prize Committee IS STILL GOING TO BE CONSIDERING Conversations With My Daughter for Prestigious Award

Embargoed material until April 1, 2012

Contact Marion Bradley (Johanna Crawford resigned this engagement, not that it’s any of your business…)

Pulitzer Prize Committee IS STILL GOING TO BE CONSIDERING Conversations With My Daughter for Prestigious Award.

A month before the first entries can possibly made to the contest, Conversations With My Daughter still appears to be under serious consideration for the Pulitzer Prize Award for Letters.

When reached at his home, a professor at the University of Columbia, which awards the prestigious honor, had this to say: “Do you have any idea what time of night this is?  I’m a biology professor, for cripes sakes; I don’t know what the hell you’re talking about.”

Letters requesting the precise status of the hilarious compilation of family-related humor were referred to a prestigious law firm which has been retained by the esteemed Columbia University School of Journalism specifically to deal with all things related to this remarkable manuscript.  “We’re not issuing any comments until the injunction has been granted by the lower court,” a representative of the firm said with noticeable testiness in his voice, in response to a really harmless inquiry.

“No,” he added in response to another harmless inquiry: “I am NOT having a bad day.”

For those few avid readers who have not yet had the pleasure of reading it, Conversations With My Daughter is a brilliant evocation of the real-world experiences that fathers have with their daughters throughout the period when the daughters are growing up and routinely outwitting their parents on everything from bedtime to boyfriends.  It also offers a lot of good, practical advice for parents who might not have received the operators manual when they took their newborn baby home from the hospital.

“I laughed until I peed in my pants,” is how one reader describes the experience of digesting this important information.  “Wait;” he added a moment later.  “Is that recording thing on?”

A representative of the prestigious Incontinence Association of America in Silver Spring, MD confirmed that sales of adult diapers have spiked since the book’s publication.  “If this Veres guy would just keep writing those really funny books of his, we could all retire rich,” she said.

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Conversations With My Daughter Could Be Withdrawn From Pulitzer Consideration

For immediate release

Contact Marion Bradley, just not at her home or after hours.

Author considering removal of Conversations With My Daughter from consideration for Pulitzer Prize. Worried that committee members might permanently injure themselves by laughing too hard.

Robert Veres, author of the really wonderful, heartwarming, funny, charming, hilarious and just plain darned good book entitled Conversations With My Daughter is said to be considering a rare move in the world of critically-acclaimed fiction.  “Yes, I’ve been thinking about removing my book from the list of potential Pulitzer Prize winners,” Mr. Veres said in a press conference at his home in San Diego.

The reason for this drastic move is purely humanitarian, he said in response to an inquiry that he selected from dozens of jostling members of the international press who had made the pilgrimage to his front lawn from global news outlets all over the globe.  “I’m not totally sure that some of those judges have actually laughed out loud since the Nixon Administration,” he said.  “What happens when they get to the really funny part of the book when the father is having The Talk with his teenage daughter?  Or the bedtime ritual where the daughter manages to—ha ha ha; see, even I can’t talk about it without busting a gut.  Somebody might die laughing, and who would want to carry THAT around on their conscience?”

Mr. Veres later speculated that if his work proved to be the cause of the death of one or more of the prestigious judges in this contest, it might count against him when the diminished group ultimately selects a winner.  “It’s possible, under those circumstances, that I wouldn’t get a totally fair evaluation from the angry survivors,” he said.

Noted board-certified gut and belly specialist Dr. Martin Weymayer says that while it is a misnomer that people actually rupture their stomach lining or intestines when laughing at books as downright funny as Conversations With My Daughter, he concedes that there have indeed been medically-confirmed instances of people expiring from too much laughter.  “I think he’s right to worry about the older members of the Pulitzer Committee,” Mr. Weymayer said.  “Sudden exposure to so many funny scenarios coming at you all at once could potentially be dangerous to anybody who is not in excellent health.”

After a brief but animated conference with the author, Mr. Weymayer stepped back up to the podium, pocketed several large-denomination bills, and announced that you, whoever is reading this, should not be deterred from buying the book because of any supposed physical danger.  “If you’re not on the Pulitzer Committee,” he said, “and if you actually have a sense of humor, then, from a health standpoint, I would recommend that you buy Conversations With My Daughter as soon as possible, and–” he added, looking across the way toward the author– “also buy it for all your friends and neighbors as gifts.”

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Real World Advice on Finding a Literary Agent

Now that I’m a published author, people come up to me and tell me that they have a WAY better book that they, themselves have written, and they can’t understand how all this garbage like my stupid parenting book of questionable humor gets published when the really good stuff is sitting in their bureau drawer and some of it on their hard drive.

Then they ask: “How can I get the attention of a prestigious literary agent who will sell my book to a publisher so I can make millions and start dating Hollywood starlets after the book is made into a movie?”

I have to confess to them that I’m not really an expert on the Hollywood starlets thing, but I DO have some experience with agents.  And interestingly, my experience with starlets and agents has been strikingly similar—in the sense that, for the most part, neither would return my phone calls or any messages at all.

Literary agents are in the business primarily of fending off inquiries from authors and refusing to look at their material.  In fact, they get paid by the number of would-be authors they can avoid actual contact with.  A good one can avoid all contact with hundreds of people at once.  They get a bonus if they can manage not to read any manuscripts for a full year.

But every once in a while, somebody at a literary agency will really screw up or fall down on the job, and you’ll slip past large angry guard dogs and have an actual conversation with an actual agent.  It’s likely to go something like this:

“Hi. I’m Bob.  I’ve written a really good book, and I’d like you to represent it to the publishing industry.”

“Excellent.  Tell me a little bit about yourself.”

“Well, I’m a terrific writer with a fine comic touch–”

“Not those kinds of things; I mean, how many of your books have reached the New York Times best seller list?”

“Well, actually I haven’t published any books yet—”

“Oh; then I started off with the wrong set of questions.  Are you a famous film actor willing to dish a lot of dirt about people who are household names, even if you have to make most of it up?”

“I’ve never actually appeared in a movie.  Does that disqualify me?”

“Of course not.  Perhaps you’re a former Senator or member of the U.S. House of Representatives who has been embroiled in a really juicy sex scandal involving underage interns and perhaps also a goldfish.”

“Not… really.”

“So what ARE you famous for?”

“I’m not exactly a household name—that is, until this book is published.  You see–”

“I’m afraid I DON’T see.  You’re not writing an expose about a famous spouse, perhaps?”

“Actually, it’s about the father/daughter relationship, which–”

“I don’t know how to put this delicately Mr. Veres, but selling an author like you, who has no international best-sellers to your name, no celebrity, writing on a subject that frankly sounds boring to tears, is just too darned much work for me to take on at the moment.  Do you happen to have any famous friends who might be interested in writing a book?”

“None that come to mind.  Couldn’t I just show you the manuscript–”

“I’m far too busy to read anything you might have produced.  I’ll tell you what.  You get that book published, and marketed and on the New York Times best-seller list without any professional help whatsoever, and then come back and I’ll represent your next book and sit back with my feet up on the desk and collect a juicy percentage of every dollar that you generate.  Deal?”

“That’s… extremely generous of you.”

“Please, think nothing of it.”

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Conversations With My Daughter in Pulitzer Hunt

For immediate release

Contact Johanna Crawford

Conversations With My Daughter will be entered in Pulitzer Prize Contest for Letters.  Author confidently predicts victory.

In a stunning development in the cloistered world of critically-acclaimed literature, a book that contains virtually no serious content, whose every page is devoted to the most profound kind of ridiculousness, is being entered into what may be the world’s most prestigious literary contest.  The book, entitled Conversations With My Daughter, offers some of the funniest father/daughter dialogue in all literature, and is widely expected to capture the top prize, according to a number of the author’s family members who asked not to be named specifically in this press release under penalty of a lawsuit.

“There’s no redeeming social value at all in the #@&% thing,” said a young woman who refused to give her identity when asked directly if she was the author’s daughter.

“Watch your &%#@&%$ mouth, young lady,” the author is said to have responded.

After police had restored order, Mr. Veres compared his efforts to provide parenting advice with other great works of literature.  “I’m not going to stand here and tell you that I’ve left Tolstoy and Marquez in the dust,” he said.  “That’s what literary critics are for.”

Meanwhile, in a related development which almost certainly portends well for the book’s chances in the contest, court documents reveal that two of the esteemed Pulitzer contest judges have filed an injunction to keep the author of Conversations With My Daughter at least 1,500 feet from their midtown apartments.

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Conversations with My Daughter

It’s common knowledge that parenting isn’t an easy task; would be much easier if directions were attached to each child. In Conversations with My Daughter, author Robert Veres takes a humorous approach to child rearing as he applies a firm, wise hand to the parenting tiller.

Veres shares imagined parent–child dialogues aimed at helping parents understand exactly what to say when confronted with the many difficult or unexpected situations they are likely to experience. In this hilarious guide, a father matches wits with his daughter, drawing conversations from every stage of life—from the battle over bedtime and the candy counter at the grocery store to driving off inappropriate (or scary) boyfriends to selecting the right college—along with everything in between.

Seeking to raise the quality of parenthood around the globe, Conversations with My Daughter captures some of the truly inspirational thoughts, wise sayings, and observations that can help parents guide children through the turbulence of adolescence—and provides everyone with a few laughs along the way.

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